Actionable client intelligence: Can next-gen dashboards deliver?

At Intapp, we’ve worked with thousands of leaders at financial and professional services firms. We’ve discovered that they all share certain traits: expertise in their chosen fields, dedication to giving their clients their best, and a healthy skepticism of the value of data-driven dashboards.

At their best, dashboards should surface meaningful, fact-based insights that empower COOs and managing partners to make decisions that are informed by rigorous metrics and real-world insights. In practice, however, traditional dashboards often fail on their promise to transform firm knowledge into actionable client intelligence.

From our many conversations with COOs, managing partners, and other industry leaders, we’ve learned that their frustrations with dashboards fall into three main categories. We share what we’ve learned from them below — along with some insights into how next-gen systems can address these concerns and transform day-to-day activities into actionable intelligence.

  1. Data administration is a huge burden. In knowledge-based industries like accounting, consulting, law, investment banking, and private equity, partners are too busy to keep up with everyday administrative tasks. They are seller-doers — they bring in new business and develop client relationships, while also executing the work itself. These hardworking professionals simply don’t have time to do data entry. As a result, the data in their dashboards may not be current, centralized, or trustworthy.

    When looking at opportunity projections and other financials, how many times have you heard a colleague ask, “Do these numbers look right?” This is probably because there wasn’t any rigor or discipline in how the data was migrated into the software that powers the dashboard. And if the numbers aren’t complete or accurate, your decision makers won’t be able trust the data.

    Fortunately, today’s AI-assisted systems can address the administrative burden of maintaining dashboards, thanks to automated data capture and intelligence reporting. Applied AI, for example, can automatically create new contact profiles, and update existing ones, by scraping signature details directly from emails — including contacts’ name, employer, phone number, and job title. In the same way, it can auto-populate your client dashboards with meeting times and participants pulled from calendar invitations.

    Next-gen systems can also integrate data from key third-party vendors — like Equilar and Dun & Bradstreet — to supplement your firm’s internal intelligence with real-time market information. That means your staff won’t have to log into multiple systems to track individuals or companies, or manually enter information into a database.

    These next-gen systems are purpose-built to integrate with your existing internal systems so your firm’s data is always up to date.

  3. Traditional dashboards lack agility. Firm professionals need their dashboards to answer a wide range of questions, which vary by industry, role, department or practice, geographic location, and more. These questions also change constantly, as new government regulations are enacted and external macroeconomic events impact the market.

    Unfortunately, traditional dashboards are hard-coded to display the information that was needed back when the system was first purchased — which makes them outdated and obsolete relatively quickly. So when firms have to ask their vendors to reprogram their existing dashboards, the time and cost involved usually lead them to question the dashboard’s value.

    Next-gen dashboards, on the other hand, are based on low-code or no-code technology — making them both more agile and more user-friendly. Firms can modify or build new queries internally to filter data without involving third parties, so they can get answers to their most pressing questions much more quickly.

  5. The data presented isn’t actionable. Although traditional dashboards sometimes include charts and graphs that highlight key information, it’s still not clear to professionals what they actually mean. Frequently, it’s just a jumble of numbers that’s been put into a bar or pie chart.

    Sure, the bar or pie chart might be visually appealing, but your firm’s professionals still can’t understand what they should focus on, or where problems exist or might arise. As one Am Law COO told us, “People think dashboards are transparent, but they don’t present the data in a way that is easy to interpret.

    The way a next-gen dashboard is able to automatically capture data and synthesize it using AI is a form of applied intelligence. These advances in applied AI can make a real difference in relationship management by prompting professionals to take the right action with the right people at the right time.

    For example, a CRM with a next-gen dashboard may generate an email to a firm leader with a list of clients they haven’t spoken to in six months — along with a tailored message noting that they used to talk weekly. Or if news hits the wire from a company of interest, an automatic alert will immediately be sent to a firm partner so they can follow up right away. With actionable client intelligence like this, the positive impact on client relationships and business development can be tremendous.

Identify actionable client intelligence with DealCloud

With today’s next-gen systems, generating actionable client intelligence via data-driven dashboards is an achievable goal. Purpose-built, next-gen dashboards that aggregate, filter, and synthesize data now exist — and they can deliver the insights and outcomes that professional and financial services firms have been waiting for.

Next-gen dashboards are designed to leverage your firm’s existing information and systems to give your professionals role-based views of their most-needed data. With these modern tools, tailored views, and clearer insights, your teams can skip the time-wasting hassle of manual tasks — and make better, highly informed decisions that improve your business outcomes.

Ready to learn how to leverage actionable client intelligence at your own firm? Schedule a demo of DealCloud today.